This test is done using equipment known as an accelerometer which calculates the critical fall heights of a playground surface. The equipment has a hemi impact head-form in a guide rail system with a single vertical accelerometer. Surface testing gives a good indication of the impact absorbing properties of any surface.
Various factors significantly impact the effectiveness of your surfacing. These include usage rate, seasonal variations and maintenance. It is important to perform impact surface testing on playgrounds that have elevated play equipment.
Safety Surface or Drop testing can be carried out on all types of playground surfaces. This test is usually conducted for solid playground surfaces, like wet pour rubber, soft fall tiles and synthetic grass. Loose fill surfaces [i.e. sand, bark mulch] installed in playgrounds need to be maintained to appropriate minimum depth to ensure ongoing compliance with the Australian Standard (check the test results of the loose fill product for the minimum depths 200mm).
Evidence of adequate playground surfacing may be required for the licensing processes of Education and Care Services.
Drop testing may be recommended following installation of the solid playground surfacing to confirm that the installation meets the critical fall height rating in accordance with the Australian Standard: AS 4422:2016 “Playground surfacing – Specifications, requirements and test method”. This Standard provides the general requirements for surfacing to be used in children’s playgrounds and specific requirements for areas where impact energy attenuation is necessary.